Hippo Teeth | How Many Teeth Does A Hippo Have?

Hippos are large semi-aquatic mammals that live in Africa. As the name suggests, they have a very broad and flathead with two short ears on top of it. They can also be identified by their long snouts which contain up to 40 teeth, which is more than any other mammal species. The teeth in their mouths are also very strong, and they have the ability to bite through thick pieces of meat or wood.

  • Hippos live only on land but spend most of their time in the water.
  • They eat grasses, plants, fruits, roots and bark from trees. Hippo’s teeth cannot chew food so they swallow it whole with a lot of water afterwards for digestion purposes.
How Many Teeth Does a Hippo Have

How many teeth does a hippo have

Common Hippopotamus: Young hippos having 32 deciduous teeth bearing cuspids, incisors, bicuspids, and molars on both sides of the jaw.

Adult hippos having 36 teeth containing incisors, canines, premolars, and molars on both sides of their lower jaw. Surprisingly in adulthood, some hippos can have more than 40 teeth. They can keep both of their milk teeth and developing teeth for several years

Hippo mouth closeup picture
Common Hippo open mouth

Pygmy Hippopotamus: Youngling squat hippos have 32 teeth that containing 3 incisors, 1 canine, molars, and 4 premolars on two sides of the jawbone.

Grown Pygmy hippos have 34 teeth whereas common adult hippos have thirty-six.

In each half of the upper jaw on two sides, dwarf Hippos have only 1 cuspid, two incisors, three bicuspids, and three molars’ teeth. In each moiety of the lower jaw on two sides, they have one cuspid, one incisor, three bicuspids, and three molars tusks. The cuspid or canine teeth of an adult Pygmy Hippo are really very dangerous.

Pygmy Hippo showing Teeth
Pygmy Hippo Teeth

What are hippo teeth made of?

Hippopotamus Teeth skeleton
Hippopotamus Teeth Skeleton

The teeth of the hippopotamus are made of ivory, which is a dense material that has been used by humans for centuries.

Hippos have two sets of teeth: one set in their mouth which is called canines and another set in the back of their throat is incisors. The second set can be seen when they open their mouths wide to show off these big chompers or while chewing on some tasty vegetation.

These front teeth are hooked, with the top curved over like a spoon and the bottom curving under like a knife blade.

How big are hippo teeth?

Hippo canine closeup shoot
Canine Teeth

One of their most recognizable features is their set of large teeth, which continuously grow as they chew on tough vegetation.

Their lower canines and incisors teeth are enlarged. These teeth are continuously growing, incisor can reach up to 40 cm (1 ft 4 in), and canine can reach up to 50 cm long (1 ft 8 in).
The average adult hippo has between 36 and 40 teeth at any given time, with an additional 2 temporary replacement incisors that never appear in the mouth simultaneously with the other teeth because they remain under the gum line until needed.

How strong are hippos’ teeth?

Hippo eats grass
Hippo eats grass

Hippos sharpen their teeth by continuous grinding with upper shorter canines. The incisor’s sharp edges allow for biting and tearing through flesh while the molars enable to chew some of the toughest plants around without breaking a tooth.

Hippos can open mouth at 180 degrees, and they have enormous bite force, that measure 1800 PSI for female. Males are too aggressive, and couldn’t get accurate testing.
Hippopotamuses can crush watermelon, fruit in one bite. Even a ten-foot-long crocodile can be cut in half by a single bite.

Do hippo teeth fall out?

A hippo’s teeth never stop growing and will continue to grow until they die or the animal is killed by an outside force. The only way for a hippo to stop their teeth from growing is if the tooth is knocked out, broken off, or worn down to stubs through constant chewing on hard surfaces such as tree bark.

How do hippos use their teeth?

Hippos are known to be one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. Their aggressive temperaments and sharp teeth make them a force to be reckoned with.

But, did you know that hippos also have really large grinding molars for chewing? The massive incisors on their bottom jaw can help adults chew up vegetation like grasses and roots while the smaller upper incisors are used for grasping food.

The last set of teeth they have is called premolars, which are located in between the top two sets of molars. These premolar teeth help them chew plants into small bits so they can swallow it more easily without choking or getting a stomachache from eating too quickly.

Hippopotamus Skull
Hippopotamus Skull

Hippo teeth cleaning

Have you ever wondered how hippos maintain their pearly white teeth? Hippos are herbivores who consume a diet consisting of mostly plants, grasses, and aquatic vegetation. Their diet means they rarely have to worry about cavities or plaque buildup. But if this is the case why do hippos still need to brush their teeth?

The answer lies within the anatomy of the hippo’s mouth. The inside of a hippo’s mouth is lined with many tusks that act as an additional set of teeth for chewing food and removing any particles from eating before swallowing. These tusks also serve as weapons against predators and other animals vying for territory or mating rights.

A recent study found that African birds are attracted to hippo teeth and use their beaks to scrape away plaque and food stuck in the crevices of a hippo’s mouth. The birds’ saliva contains compounds which help fight bacteria on the surface of the teeth, as well as substances which break down fats and sugars on hard-to-reach areas of the teeth.

A video showed, at tennoji zoo in japan, the zookeeper brushing hippo teeth. It’s a very dangerous task, but the zookeeper comfortably brushing without fear! Hippo enjoying the cleaning service. After that, he put bananas and melons into the hippo’s mouth.

Did George Washington have hippo teeth?

Yes, George Washington, the first president of the united states, began losing his teeth in the twenties. When he taking the oath of the president, he had only one natural tooth left. That year, Dr. John Greenword gave the first of four full sets of the denture, made of hippopotamus ivory and human teeth, to the president.


Teeth are an essential part of the mammalian diet. Not only do they allow for chewing, but they also help to break down food particles and release nutrients into the bloodstream. Among mammals, hippopotamuses have a unique set of teeth that is unlike any other mammal on Earth

Related Posts:

  1. Geographic distribution of hippopotamus
  2. Is hippo milk really pink?
  3. Hippo Life Cycle Stages
  4. Hippo Blood Sweat | Is it True?
  5. How much does a hippo weigh

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author

Clay Traynor

Hello, I am Clay, a Zoophilist, Researcher, and Writer. I Write interesting and unknown facts about animal life, habitat, and health.

Leave a Comment